Document 1412

Interview 11: Orkney woman talking about languages in Scotland

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): Dr Holger Schmitt, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

M865, Are you interested in languages at all?
F950 Ehm possible. //I've never, I've never really thought aboot it, I've never had the need,//
M865, //uh-huh// Yeah.
F950 ehm, I suppose it'd be //if you went on holiday somewhere it'd be//
M865, //Yeah.// //Uh-huh, yeah.//
F950 //necessary to learn somethin//
M865, Are you local Orca- Orcadian? //Oh right okay, oh right//
F950 //Yes, I come from the North Isles, Sanday, the island o Sanday.//
M865, oh good, okay. [inhale] Right, eh now in Scotland we've got many ehm languages and accents and dialects, eh so what languages and and dialects do you know in Scotland?
F950 Well Aberdonian,
M865, uh-huh
F950 ehm well Glaswegian //I suppose.//
M865, //Right.// //uh-huh//
F950 //Western Isles,// there's Orkney, Shetlands, different
M865, Yeah. yeah S- //yeah//
F950 //Fife area//
M865, Fife uh-huh Do you, do you have any relatives or people you know in Fife?
F950 No but I I believe that it's a s- I don't know much aboot Fife but I //believe it's quite a strong//
M865, //Yeah.// //Yeah that's//
F950 //different dialect.//
M865, interesting though because many people actually point to Fife eh I wasn't aware of that //before I started, you know, doing this interview here,//
F950 //Uh-huh yeah yeah.//
M865, this interviewing, yeah.
F950 Wick //there's a strong dialect in Wick,//
M865, //mmhm// //right okay so that's//
F950 //north o Scotland,// //yeah.//
M865, //Caithness yeah?// yeah [inhale] Ehm do you think there's any particular dialect that represents Scotland best, where you would say, "Okay, this is how S- well Scottish people speak", or this is the, the most typical Scottish dialect or accent?
F950 [exhale] Possibly, I mean, possibly Glasgow, it's the well known one across the world I suppose but //ehm//
M865, //mm//
F950 I would prefer that somewhaur like the middle, like oh Inverness, Perth, that //was//
M865, //mmhm//
F950 because it's a sort o normal
M865, yeah,
F950 ehm toned down
M865, yeah
F950 version but it's still got the Scottish //sort o accent in it, yeah.//
M865, //Yeah, exactly, mm, yeah.// That's interesting, that's an interesting statement, yeah. Do, do you have any favourite dialects or accents in Scotland? I mean you've mentioned eh what was it? Inverness and Perth?
F950 Weel I
M865, I mean people that you enjoy listening to most just because of their accents or dialects?
F950 Probably the Western Isles a bit, ehm I mean I can laugh at the, the jokes that comes fae the Ga- the Glasgow //ones but ehm//
M865, //mmhm mmhm//
F950 I think it can be very hard to make oot.
M865, mmhm //mm//
F950 //ye know// fur fur me an then probab- possibly even worse fur //foreigners or even the English.//
M865, //mm mm// mm So ah you would say your favourite accent would be Western Isles in Scotland?
F950 Weel it's got a lilt, //and I like to, yeah probably like hearin that.//
M865, //Uh-huh, yeah okay// okay ehm is there any dialect or language you don't particularly like in Scotland, where you'd say, "Mm it's not very pleasant to listen to"?
F950 Ehm, no not really I think maybe the Aberdonians do, it's quite difficult to make oot, //it's//
M865, //Yeah.// Is it just difficult or is it unpleasant to you?
F950 Well, I c- I don't know, I never really thought aboot Scottish accents but I don't particularly like the Birmingham accent in //England because it's too,//
M865, //Ah yeah okay.// //Yeah, the Brum,//
F950 //it's a drone, it's a, it sounds very,// //yeah, don't, I don't particularly like that but//
M865, //yeah yeah, yeah.// //uh-huh//
F950 //I havena really thought aboot the Scottish accents// as bein gratin.
M865, Sorry?
F950 I don't find any o the //Scottish accents gratin.//
M865, //Yeah.// mmhm "Gratin", what does that mean? //Okay, okay, oh yeah.//
F950 //[third person in room laughs] Gettin on your nerves, you know, gratin, you know?// //[laugh]//
M865, //Is, is that a Scottish term?// //Never heard of it [laugh].//
F950 //Probably just mine! [laugh] [third person in room laughs]//
M865, Mm. How would you describe your own dialect or accent? //I mean w- not//
F950 //Well//
M865, just now but when you talk to friends or to your family?
F950 Well there're certain words that I use that probably me husband that comes from Orphir doesn't use, //an that's because I was brought up on Sanday,//
M865, //mmhm// //mmhm mmhm//
F950 //and there's certain words comes fae every parish here.// Ehm if I hear myself on the answerin machine, //I don't like it ehm//
M865, //mmhm, oh right! [laugh]// //mmhm mm mm//
F950 //I, I think I'm pretty broad if I, if I'm relaxed I'm pretty broad spoken.//
M865, Okay. Now ehm Scotland or you've got your own parliament now in in Edinburgh since nineteen ninety-nine, //and you can//
F950 //mm//
M865, also determine language issues now, ehm so talking about schools first of all, ehm what do you think, what foreign languages should be taught at school?
F950 Well I think they are bein taught already, I mean French, //German,//
M865, //Yeah.//
F950 ehm
M865, Is that what you would decide, what you're in favour of, or would you decide for any other languages, foreign languages?
F950 [exhale] Well I, I think you have a choice in Orkney, you have a choice between French and German and probably later on you can //do something//
M865, //mmhm// //mmhm, mm//
F950 //other an there's evening classes for e-, ye know, other reasons.// Ehm it would be difficult because I mean everybody have their own
M865, [tut] Yeah but I'm just //asking, you know, everybody//
F950 //idea.//
M865, eh what people think about ehm foreign language teaching, what foreign languages should be taught at school, ehm so everybody is entitled to their own opinion. //yeah mm mm//
F950 //Well yes but that's how ye decide, I mean how how would you decide, it, it would be so difficult because there's reasons for havin that, maybe// is there supposed to be some sorta, what is it, the Spanish thing, the there's that language that's no Spanish //but it's//
M865, //Catalan?// Castellano?
F950 No it's ehm like a broad language, ehm it's it's no a, it's no, it's a combination o Spanish is it not, an, an something else, it's just a
M865, Is it spoken in Spain, in the north of Spain?
F950 [exhale] No it's, it's no particularly Spanish, I think it's like a made-up new language, is //there a//
M865, //Ah right,// //Esperanto? Is it like an artificial language? Ah right, okay, yeah,//
F950 //Must be that, must be that, yeah it must be somethin like that.// //I've heard of that; I don't know, understand what it's about but//
M865, //uh-huh, yeah.//
F950 ehm if there could be some sort o thing across the board, //something made just for c- across Europe or//
M865, //uh-huh// Y- You would be in favour of that? Like an artificial language which can be used all over //Europe, mmhm//
F950 //Well yes but why, why should it be English the whole time I mean// really could there no be somethin //in between?//
M865, //mmhm// mmhm. Well, there could, //You could always make up languages eh,//
F950 //Yeah [laugh], [third person in room laughs]// //because I mean why should we decide that it's French and German as I'm sure the French and German wou-, you know, wh-, they would say, "Well, why is it//
M865, //yeah, yeah// uh-huh //yeah, yeah, yeah.//
F950 //you know, other than English why should it be French, why should it be German?"//
M865, Okay. Ehm what about the teachers, eh which accent, I should say, should they encourage and use themselves at school?
F950 Well they have to be understood eh it's it's English that they were like we have tae learn //ehm//
M865, //mmhm//
F950 but perhaps they should incorporate some sort o either Scottish, the Scots language or Orcadian //within some place o//
M865, //mmhm mmhm// //mmhm yeah.//
F950 //o the teaching, no just the the normal maths an English an so on but maybe there should be// //some attention spo- eh given tae the a- whatever area you're in.//
M865, //Okay, yeah okay.// So it should be basically like a understandable English accent with some local influence, //is that what you're saying? mmhm//
F950 //Yes I mean, y- yes I mean really// //i- it's the accent that doesnae really matter much aboot the accent or your dialect but you're ye know the words have to be understandable on and eh//
M865, //mmhm mmhm// //mmhm mmhm okay, okay.//
F950 //in English than, English form.//
M865, Right //ehm//
F950 //Well for exams an things you have to// //ye know? [third person in room coughs]//
M865, //yeah, mm.// //Have you heard of a language called Scots, not the people, the Scots, but the language called Scots?//
F950 //mmhm// Is that an ancient language or
M865, Well I mean some people would say that's an an ancient language eh but some people would say that it's still spoken today, //it's it's difficult, have you heard anything about Scots?//
F950 //Mmhm ehm well there,// there u- I've heard something like old S- the old Scots //language an there was a programme on TV no that l- long ago//
M865, //Yeah.// //mmhm//
F950 //speakin aboot all the words// that a lot o people didna know, //you know various people had heard different words an oh I d- I havena heard that an so on so it obviously is in the different areas//
M865, //yeah yeah, uh-huh yeah, yeah.// //Yeah.//
F950 //an the different upbringings an//
M865, Well I mean some people would argue that Scots is ehm //a language first of all that u- Rabbie Burns used and way before that, that was used way before that//
F950 //mmhm// //mmhm//
M865, //and that today survives in a number of dialects like for example Orcadian, Glaswegian, North-East, Aberdeenshire ehm dialect// //eh and they would use an umbrella term and call this "Scots"//
F950 //mmhm//
M865, Ehm have you heard this term in this connection? //Yeah yeah, okay.//
F950 //No, but I can understand what you mean, yeah because a lot o// a lot o people I suppose is you nearly would say that the the true Scots language is dead.
M865, Yeah yeah, mm.
F950 But yes definitely. //I would say I was I speak Orcadian I must admit, rather that Scots but ehm//
M865, //Mmhm mmhm okay yeah, mm//
F950 maybe somebody that belongs tae whatever area in in Scotland would say they they speak, they're they're Scottish they speak so the Scots language.
M865, Uh-huh uh-huh yeah. Now there's some people both in in politics and private people eh would like to give Scots, whatever that is, eh a greater prominence //in Scottish society ehm//
F950 //mmhm//
M865, which could mean that more writings are produced in Scots ehm that it's more prominent on television or i- in the radio, ehm that it's sometimes or s- maybe even integrate it into the school curriculum eh could have all kinds of consequences but the general idea is eh that Scots should have a a greater prominence in Scotland. What do you think about that?
F950 [exhale] Well it's maybe just me own opinion but I would think in Orkney I d- I just don't think it would fit in,
M865, mmhm
F950 I really don't. //Ehm//
M865, //Okay.//
F950 an an the same in other areas in Scotland, what I mean what when what they would what what would they decide?
M865, Uh-huh yeah, I mean as I said it can have various consequences ehm like produce more writings in Scots ehm invent for example even new words, ehm invent a new language or based on the ancient language like, for example, that Robert Burns used ehm //produce or make up a new language, mmhm, mmhm, mmhm, okay//
F950 //Yeah I'm sure there's a lot o people'll be interested in that but eh ye know, bro- the broad spectrum o people proably wouldn't.//
M865, right okay. Ehm can I just show you something? Ehm this is a children's book //by a publisher called Itchycoo,//
F950 //[laugh]//
M865, ehm and they write in well what they think Scots is ehm so maybe just take a look at this and //ehm tell me what you think about it.//
F950 //ah yeah!// //Weel I think it maks ye laugh I think it, ye know the words make ye laugh, I think they're,//
M865, //mmhm mmhm//
F950 I don't know why but if it had been in ordinary words maybe [laugh] I don't know it-it-it- it's it's in a wey it soonds better when it's written like that in the poetry,
M865, mmhm
F950 hav- havin said what I said before I, that soonds //ye know I'm, I'm tryin to hear it in me own head here an//
M865, //Yeah, yeah.//
F950 but that's probably me thinkin on //all that comedians as weel an ye know,//
M865, //mmhm mm//
F950 they're probably
M865, Would you like your children to read that? //[laugh]//
F950 //ehm// //Weel I wouldna mind I mean I don't know if they would want tae read it or no ehm me son, eh me oldest son lives oot in//
M865, //mmhm mmhm okay//
F950 or has lived oot in Westray he's back in Kirkwall now, an Westray is pretty strong an he would when he writes to his freends fae Westray or postcards, ye know, it's just as, they're writin as they're speakin. //Yeah, just for, just for f- an it is fun, it is funny to see it.//
M865, //Really, they do? Oh that's interesting. For fun, uh-huh, oh yeah, that's interesting, yeah.//
F950 They've kept they're dialect pretty strong //in Westray.//
M865, //uh-huh yeah// Where, where is Westray?
F950 It's the Northern Isles.
M865, Okay. //Okay, uh-huh.//
F950 //One o the northern isles.//
M865, [inhale] So do you think it's a good idea, //to choose your//
F950 //Well, well// yes I, I think it, I think it ehm would this, obviously this would be in primary school I mean that //[inaudible]//
M865, //Well it's just for private use probably// //[inaudible] it's not, mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
F950 //yeah but I mean if they were, if they were, if they had it in the school just for a sorta project or somethin.// Ehm probably they would foun- find that interestin //but to actually do it as a sort o//
M865, //Mmhm okay// //mmhm mmhm//
F950 //somethin serious,// I do- I don't know, I don't think my kids would have liked that just to do it seriously, //but I, I m- but I think this is, this, this is fun.//
M865, //Okay, mmhm okay right.// //Eh there is//
F950 //[laugh]//
M865, this thing that I would like to show you, this is a printout from the internet from the Scottish parliament eh also in in Scots, or again what they think Scots is. Ehm so you can actually read this worldwide
F950 [sniff] Is this written in different //different areas it's, or is it just the one sort o//
M865, //Different languages, yeah [inaudible].// No this is, this is the one Scots version; ehm they have it in English, they have it in Gaelic, ehm and they have it obviously in Scots.
F950 I don't know,
M865, [laugh]
F950 I just, I don't want to be I don't want to be cheeky but I just [third person in room laughs] //I just find a bit o a joke, you know, I I really do//
M865, //[inaudible]// //Sorry, what, what, what, eh oh yeah mmhm.//
F950 //I find readin this a bit o a joke,// because I because it if it's //if it had been kept up over the years it might have been better but just to spring this on//
M865, //Mmhm mmhm mmhm// //mmhm mmhm.//
F950 //an a lot o folk just wouldna understand it.//
M865, Actually many people react like you; //they like this one//
F950 //mmhm//
M865, but they don't like this one. //Yeah, yeah.//
F950 //No because as I said that was fun, an this is supposed to be serious an//
M865, Actually many people react like this, that's very interesting. mm
F950 I [exhale] I don't mind if it was, if you had the normal thing and then this aside, beside it an the, there, you know //if they, well if they had the normal way o writin if, ye know withoot bein in Scots if if it was just a leaflet//
M865, //What do you mean normal thing? Okay, uh-huh, okay yeah.// //Yeah.//
F950 //in pro- in proper English an then this here I think it would// //it would give the choice.//
M865, //mmhm// W- well you do have the choice, eh you can click here, //ehm Scots is one language, it doesn't actually list the other languages//
F950 //Oh right, mmhm// //oh well//
M865, //but you you do have English but on on separate pages.//
F950 yeah but I think I I think yes I think maybe maybe it's a good idea to give the choice.
M865, Yeah okay mmhm //So general//
F950 //[throat]// //No, no.//
M865, //you wouldn't, no, okay.// //mmhm//
F950 //Because if I was wantin if I was wantin something serious I would want tae// //you know get to the point as soon as possible but wi that ye have tae//
M865, //Yeah.// //Yeah, okay, yeah that's right [laugh].//
F950 //think about it.// //[laugh]//
M865, //Now ehm we've talked about [telephone rings] woops, just//
F950 [third person in room answers phone]
M865, Right, okay, ehm can I just show you this one? Ehm now at the moment Scots, which we define as the language spoken by some people in the Lowlands comprising various dialects and also here in the Northern Isles ehm is almo- almost only used for private conversation. //In which of the following language situations would you would you also welcome the use of Scots?//
F950 //mmhm//
M865, So maybe you can just take a look at these twelve language situations, ehm if any Ehm now this sort of language, okay either this one or this one ehm where would you welcome this sort of language? //mmhm//
F950 //Well in in none o the in none o the serious things eh like road signs, ehm,// //well anything private it you can you can have the choice eh//
M865, //Mmhm okay.// //mmhm//
F950 //choice on the companies or govenment bodies if you want I suppose,// formal speeches probably no, teachin at school, well, //no just a, no no as a medium, no, ehm,//
M865, //mmhm//
F950 just as some f-, some, somethin extra, some fun, //I don't I just wouldna want a formal//
M865, //mmhm// //mmhm mmhm okay//
F950 //thing.// //But modern poetry, academic texts, Bible in church it's it's choice as well, if the choice is there.//
M865, //mmhm okay, yeah.// //Okay.//
F950 //I think it's recognisin the Scots language an I think that's good,//
M865, Mmhm //mmhm yeah sure.//
F950 //but probably I don't feel strong enough aboot it.//
M865, Ehm what do you mean it's recognised as as the Scots language? //Okay.//
F950 //It's recognisin that there was a Scots language and that there// //if people want to use it, it's bein recognized, it's like the Scottish parliament//
M865, //mmhm mmhm// //mmhm mmhm//
F950 //put in place they're recognisin the Scots as Scots an no part o the// //UK, I suppose, an some folk might feel really strongly aboot that.//
M865, //mmhm yeah mmhm mm that's right, yeah.// Okay, just to finish off, a very brief questionnaire, ehmwith ehm personal background, eh can you give me the decade of your birth please?
F950 Ehm nineteen fifties.
M865, Okay. Where were you born?
F950 I was born on the island o //Sanday.//
M865, //okay// How long have you been living in Scotland?
F950 All ma life.
M865, Okay. Eh and on Orkney, //or in Orkney?//
F950 //Or in// //this area or here.//
M865, //Well// "in this area" means on Orkney.
F950 Oh right, ehm all ma life as //well mmhm.//
M865, //Also? Eh what is your occupation?//
F950 I'm a nurse, mmhm.
M865, Okay. Ehm married?
F950 Yes.
M865, Okay, w- what's your husband's occupation?
F950 He's a council officer, he's a- at the council //offices, mmhm.//
M865, //Okay, right.// And finally ehm how strongly do you feel British, Scottish, English and any other, from zero meaning "not at all" eh to four meaning "very strongly or very much", yeah? So
F950 Yes I'm British, //strongly, quite strong.//
M865, //Okay so that would be four would it? Okay.// Scottish?
F950 mm Two.
M865, Okay, English?
F950 Not at all.
M865, Any other?
F950 Orcadian, //four.//
M865, //Yeah? Good,// that was it. //Thank you very much.//
F950 //Okay.//

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Information about Document 1412

Interview 11: Orkney woman talking about languages in Scotland


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 865
Size (min) 20
Size (mb) 78

Audio setting


Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 631
Year of transcription 2005
Year material recorded 2006
Word count 3313

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 865
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1960
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Occupation University teacher / researcher
Country of birth Germany
Place of residence Bridge of Allan
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Engineer
Father's country of birth Germany
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's country of birth Germany


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes Mother tongue


Participant details

Participant id 950
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment Highers/A-levels
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Nurse
Place of birth Sanday
Region of birth Orkney
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkwall
Region of residence Orkney
Residence CSD dialect area Ork
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Teacher
Father's place of birth Sanday
Father's region of birth Orkney
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Sanday
Mother's region of birth Orkney
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes